The State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) Sikkim under Forest and Environment Department has been conducting ambient air quality monitoring under the National Ambient Air Monitoring Programme in eight stations in the State of Sikkim. As per the analysis conducted, the ambient air quality in the State has been well within the permissible limits as per the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ declared pan India lockdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak on 25/3/2020. However, the SPCB-Sikkim continued to conduct the air quality analysis in all the 8 stations. Air quality is categorized into various indices such as good, satisfactory, moderate, poor, very poor & severe. As per the comparative analysis of the data generated for the average air quality index of March and April, 2020, the State is well within the permissible limits and improvement has been observed after the implementation of the lockdown. The restriction in vehicular movement in addition to closure of all construction activities is likely to have contributed to the current status.
Average Air Quality Index.
No. Station March 2020 April 2020
1 Deorali, Gangtok 60 (Satisfactory) 21 (Good)
2 Rangpo 62 (Satisfactory) 38 (Good)
3 Singtam 53 (Satisfactory) 32 (Good)
4 Namchi 34 (Good) 10 (Good)
5 Ravangla 26 (Good) 25 (Good)
6 Mangan 33 (Good) 13 (Good)
7 Chungthang 23 (Good) 10 (Good)
8 Pelling 27 (Good) 9 (Good)
Air Quality Index Impacts
1 0-50 (Good) Minimal Impact
(Satisfactory) Minor Breathing discomfort to sensitive people
3 101-200 (Moderate) Breathing discomfort to people with lung, heart disease, children and other adults
4 201-300 (Poor) Breathing discomfort to people on prolonged exposure
5 301-400 (very poor) Respiratory illness to the people on prolonged exposure
6 >401 Respiratory effects on even healthy people
Further, the SPCB-Sikkim in the Matter of O.A. 72/2020 Management of Biomedical Waste (BMW) generated due to COVID-19 is required to implement the directions of the Hon’ble National Green Tribunal (NGT). Accordingly, the Board has directed to all healthcare facilities that the Guidelines for handling, treatment & disposal of Waste generated during treatment/diagnosis/ quarantine of COVID-19 patients be strictly implemented to ensure that the outbreak does not spread due to improper disposal of contaminated waste generated from quarantine or isolation centres. The guidelines further specify establishment / operation of COVID-19 sample collection & testing laboratories and the same should be informed to the SPCB/PCC of the State. The guidelines also specify that the Pollution Control Boards are an essential health service for management of COVID-19 BMW and halting its rapid spread from contaminated waste.
The Department of Environment, Government of Sikkim urges all the citizens who are under self quarantine to ensure that all protective equipments are disposed off separately and are not mixed with the domestic solid waste. Further, we appeal to all the citizens of the State to use masks compulsorily and then destroy it after its use for proper disposal of the same in scientific manner to further prevent its reuse.
Sd/- (M.L.Srivastava) IFS